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European Education and Culture Executive Agency

Rewriting the story: Media, Gender, and Politics

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Gender stereotypes often have an impact on shaping society and the influenceable perspectives of the younger generations, particularly through the role of mass media in reinforcing gender norms. How do we change the narrative?

Rewriting the story: Gender, Media and Politics is a CERV-funded project that addresses barriers to the fair representation and portrayal of women and men in political life through a gender lens.  The project is led by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), represents and supports journalists and unions all around the globe, in partnership with COPEAM – Permanent Conference of the Mediterranean Audiovisual Operators and the University of Padova through the Elena Cornaro Centre for Gender Studies. Working with frontline journalists, their unions and associations, public service broadcasters in Europe, journalism and communication students and teachers, the project seeks to initiate reforms in European media regarding newsroom culture, policies and processes.

“We think that it is very important that journalists are gender sensitive. Particularly, in the field of politics, where there is a lot of gender stereotyping when it comes to the media coverage of female politicians. A lot of questions regarding their physical aspect, their roles as mothers and wives, and not enough relevance to their political opinion and ideologies,” said Lucía Vázquez, from the City University London.

One of the core components of this project is to change newsroom mindsets towards more accurately reflecting gender equality. This is addressed through journalists’ training on gender-aware portrayal of politicians, and a peer-to-peer programme involving six public service media and six unions from across Europe, to develop gender-sensitive strategies. Among the initiatives developed, we find: a training toolkit to support journalists in producing more gender inclusive political coverage; two ‘train the trainers’ sessions with multiplying effect amongst European journalist unions; guidelines on rules to avoid stereotypes by Channel 2 RTP in Portugal; a recent debate on ‘Misogyny and sexism in Romania’ produced by TVR; a round table organised in Croatia by HRT with the Parliament and the Union of Journalists on the coverage of women in politics.

Another important goal of the Rewriting the Story project is to create a bridge across sectors - between journalist unions, media companies, European networks and academia - so as to train a next generation of communication professionals with a gender-transformative perspective. More than 250 international students have been involved in research activities, in gathering data and in producing innovative and creative visual projects aimed at overcoming gender stereotypes in political news-making, all of which are available on AGEMI platform.

To learn more about the project, visit its website.


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